Hello all, I have just completed my final weekend of the Cosmo Caixa Explainers Program 2013 pilot. This last weekend was one of the toughest explanation-wise, because there were literally three busloads of French visitors and a whole lot of Italians. The language barrier was a bit of a problem; after various failed attempts at giving Spanish explanations to people who I soon found out didn’t speak Spanish, I was extra careful in making sure that the people present spoke Spanish. Sometimes it would take me a good 5 seconds of listening in on a conversation for me to distinguish whether or not the people in question spoke Spanish or not.
As part of the Pilot, I have been asked to answer some final reflection questions. Here they are:
1. Why do people visit Cosmo Caixa? How can an Explainer help the museum communicate its purpose to these visitors?
I have noticed that, like most museums, people mainly visit Cosmo Caixa because a) they have kids who heard from other kids that there is an exhibit about x, y or z, and they are interested b) the weather isn’t great and they are looking for something to do on a cold or rainy day instead of stay on the couch, and c) there is a tourist or school group who come visit the museum. Regarding how Explainers can help communicate Cosmo Caixa’s purpose to visitors, well, it’s quite simple. By explaining. The lack of clear explanations or properly worded/placed signs was quite shocking, and an Explainer can help clarify a lot of things. The purpose of a museum is to share knowledge, Explainers allow for the further communication of such knowledge.
2. Select one exhibit. Why do you think this exhibit was included by the designer? How does it add to the story that CosmoCaixa wishes to present to visitors?
First of all, I think that it should be more clear what the “story that Cosmo Caixa wishes to present” should be. That being said, I pick Evolution. I think this exhibit was included, well, in order to demonstrate the similarities between different animals that are at very different points in evolution. A clear example of evolution can help us respect the rigorous process of natural selection that led to our existence. It adds to the story of our existence.
3. As an Explainer you represent both BFIS and CosmoCaixa to visitors. Why is a learning practice important to a community? How do Explainers contribute to building a learning community in Barcelona?
A learning practice is important when developing curiosity. The more information that is learned, the more you are able to question, and through those questions come discoveries. Simply put, Explainers provide further information regarding the observable phenomena that surround visitors as they walk the floors of the museum. This information can lead to more questions being developed, with the potential of inspiring people to possibly pursue science as a career. It could potentially help young people from Barcelona get interested in Science.
4. Why would you recommend the Explainer program to another student? How has the experience impacted your science learning at school?
To make a long story short, it is a great opportunity to get out of your comfort bubble. Especially for me, being the only non-fluent Spanish speaker in the group; it was a great opportunity to better myself and my Spanish language abilities. This experience has impacted my science learning at school simply by giving me a physical representation of what I have learned in Physics class and allowing me to demonstrate that clearly.
That’s all folks!
Cameron Harnish (11th Grade)
p.s. I would like to especially thank Sofia Scattarreggia for all her help with the various translations that I needed. Thanks again!